The round also saw participation from existing investor WEH Ventures
The fresh capital will go towards product development and hiring tech talent focussed on product, data and engineering
The products will focus on devotional content, astrology-related offerings and virtual satsangs and pravachans.
Apps development company AppsForBharat, which is looking to create a spiritual solutions platform, has raised $4 Mn in its seed round from Sequoia Capital India and BEENEXT Ventures. Existing investor WEH Ventures also participated in the round.
Founded in November 2020 by Prashant Sachan, AppsForBharat is working on mobile and web apps that primarily focus on the spiritual and devotional needs of Indian users. A pilot product, still under development, is available on Google Play Store and has over 1 Mn downloads and over 25K reviews for a 4.8 rating. However, the company is yet to launch the product officially. The app will aim to provide spiritual, devotional, wellbeing, and meditation-related tools, communities, and services. The fresh capital will go towards product development and hiring tech talent focussed on product, data and engineering.
“We launched our first product earlier this year, which is still being refined and the name is yet to be finalised. The app helps users set up virtual space on their phones where they can access tools that help them pray, engross themselves in devotional content like mantras, scriptures, epics, etc.” founder Sachan told Inc42.
He added that users can get their daily horoscopes, panchang and other astrology-related offerings. “In the near future, we will be launching virtual spaces where people can get together and do satsangs and pravachans. The app is currently in Hindi, but a launch in other languages is underway.”
Prior to this, the startup has raised $200K in a seed round from Sequoia Capital India and Trell in April 2021. Before AppsForBharat, Sachan had cofounded short video platform Trell, which he exited in March 2021.
According to an Expert Market Research report, the religion and spirituality market in India was approximately worth $44 Bn in 2020 and is expected to grow with a CAGR of 10% between 2021-2026. Post the Covid-19 induced lockdown, even temples including the Mahavir Temple and Goa-based St Francis Xavier Church had moved to online visits and processions.
The investment in AppsForBharat substantiates VC entry into the spiritual and devotional space backed by a large devotional consumer base and smartphone usage in the country. Some players operating in the devotional and religious domains include SmartPuja, Sutradhar, Diviniti, MyMandir, Spiritual Mantra Isha Foundation, SoulSpeak, Sarva, etc.
OTT platforms such as Disney+Hotstar, Zee5 and VOOT, and social media platforms such as ShareChat also publish spiritual content through videos and other content.